Advantages And Disadvantages Of Survey Methods Management Essay

Appropriate choice of research methods leads to the success of any research ( Steele, 2000 ) . This chapter discusses the research design and methodological analysis including their strengths and failings and high spots the general attack to the PhD research. The pick of research methodological analysis and the grounds for its choice are besides provided and mapped out against research aims and associated undertakings along with awaited research end product in Table 3.6.

Nature of the Research

One should analyze assorted options when taking research scheme. Yin ( 1994 ) explains three different types of intents for research viz. explorative, descriptive and explanatory. Exploratory research aims at bring forthing basic cognition and demonstrates the character of a job by roll uping information through geographic expedition. Descriptive research involves analyzing a phenomenon to specify it more or to distinguish it from other phenomena ( Dane, 1990 ; Martella et al. , 1999 ) . Explanatory research aims to explicate why a phenomenon occurs. To accomplish this, research workers develop theories.

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The intent of this thesis is to research and depict the apprehension of sustainability issues and organisational experiences with stakeholders, in order to bring forth cognition about the part of sustainability direction system execution. To carry through the intent with this thesis, both exploratory and descriptive attacks have been chosen. Hussey and Hussey ( 1997 ) argue that research concepts in a descriptive survey must be supported by established theory. Since the survey used the elaborate literature to deduce the point statements and identified the assorted cardinal issues, it can be argued that the survey started as a descriptive survey. However, after turn toing the research jobs assisted by the quantitative consequences, the survey moved further to explicate in exploratory mode how steel companies can develop and implement sustainability direction model with a monitoring and reappraisal mechanism utilizing composite sustainability public presentation index while measuring the demands and outlooks of the stakeholders. Therefore, the survey can besides be described as an exploratory survey.

Review of Research Methods

There are different research methods and all research methods can be used to understand specific type of information or combined to back up and complement one another ( Kane, 1977 ; Frankfort-Nachmias, 1996 ) . There are two types of informations aggregation mechanisms viz. qualitative and quantitative research methods. The combination of the two attacks is termed triangulation. This subdivision provides a brief description of these research methods.

Quantitative Research

Quantitative research is nonsubjective in nature ( Naoum, 1998 ) . It is defined as ‘an enquiry into a societal or human job, based on proving a hypothesis or theory composed of variables, measured with Numberss, and analysed with statistical process to find whether the hypothesis or theory hold true ‘ ( Creswell, 1994 ) . Harmonizing to Brannen ( 1992 ) , quantitative research is concerned with attitudes and large-scale studies instead than merely with behaviors and small-scale studies.

The three types of quantitative research are experiments, quasi-experiments and studies ( SJI, 1999 ) . The effectivity of the selected types depends chiefly on the nature of the research. The study technique is the most widely used method in societal scientific discipline and besides the most relevant to this survey. It typically involves cross-sectional and longitudinal surveies utilizing questionnaires or interviews to roll up big sum of informations. Table 3.1 collates the advantages and disadvantages of these three study methods.

Table 3.1 Advantages and Disadvantages of Survey Methods ( Source: OWBC, 2001 )

Type of Survey



Mail study

Cost is low compared to other methods

High grade of respondents namelessness

Wide geographical range

Relatively low cost of treating

Low rates of response

Require easy understood inquiries and instructions

Lack of opportunity to examine for farther or lucidity of replies

Greater respondents prejudice

High incomplete inquiries

Personal study

Allows high flexibleness in the inquiring procedure

Interviewers have control of the interviewing state of affairs

High response rate

Possibility of roll uping auxiliary information

Higher cost than mail questionnaire

Potential interviewers bias due to high flexibleness

Lack of namelessness ; hesitant to unwrap personal informations

Time devouring

Telephone study

Moderate cost

Increase velocity and clip of informations aggregation

High response rate

Increase quality of informations

Hesitance to discourse sensitive informations on phone

High opportunity of respondents ending interview earlier

Less opportunity for supplement information

Qualitative Research

Qualitative research consists of elaborate descriptions of events, people, interactions and ascertained behaviors ( Patton, 1992 ) and general sentiment. It seeks to depict and explicate both positions and behavior of the people studied ( Brannen, 1992 ) . Harmonizing to Hancock ( 1998 ) , the chief illustrations of methods of roll uping qualitative informations are single interviews, focal point groups, direct observation and instance surveies. There are several advantages every bit good as disadvantages involved in utilizing a qualitative research method. Among assorted advantages, it facilitates in-depth survey ; produces overpowering elaborate information with a smaller figure of people ; and provides a great apprehension of the subject under survey.

The comparing of both qualitative and quantitative research epistemology has been tabulated in Table 3.2.


Uniting both quantitative and qualitative research methods has proven to be more powerful than a individual attack ( Sherif, 2002 ) and really effectual ( Lee, 1991 ) . Triangulation is a procedure of utilizing more than one signifier of research method to prove a hypothesis ( Brannen et al. , 1992 ) . This attack offers research workers a great trade of flexibleness, whereby theories can be developed qualitatively and tested quantitatively or frailty versa. The chief purpose of utilizing triangulation method is to better the dependability and cogency of the research outcomes.

Table 3.2 Comparison Between Qualitative and Quantitative Research ( Source: Yin,1994 )

Point of comparings

Qualitative Research

Quantitative Research

Scientific account

Inductive in nature


Data categorization




To derive apprehension of implicit in grounds and motives

To supply penetration into the scenes of a job, bring forthing thoughts and/or hypothesis for subsequently quantitative research

To bring out prevailing tendencies in idea and sentiment

To quantify informations and generalise consequences from a sample to the population of involvement.

To mensurate the incidence of assorted positions and options in a chosen sample


Normally a little figure of non-representative instances

Respondents selected to carry through a given quota or demand

Normally a big figure of instances stand foring the population of involvement

Randomly selected respondents

Data aggregation scheme

Participant observation, semi and unstructured interview, focal point groups, conversation and discourse analysis

Structured interview, ego administered questionnaires, experiments, structured observation, content analysis/statistical analysis

Datas analysis


Statistical normally in the signifier of tabular matters

Findingss are conclusive and normally descriptive in nature


Exploratory and investigative.

Findingss are non conclusive and can non be used to do generalisations

Used to urge a concluding class of action

Data Collection Strategy

There is neither a fast regulation to choosing research methods nor best research method, as the usage of each research method depends on the signifier of research inquiry, the research aims and contextual state of affairs ( Yin, 1994 ) . The choice of the most suited research method depends mostly on the purpose of the research aims and the type of informations needed for the research. Because of the wide range of the survey and the industrial context of the research, a broad scope of research techniques was adopted to accomplish the research purpose and aims. To help the choice procedure, Yin ( 1994 ) mapped out several research schemes against assorted possible state of affairss as collated Table 3.3 below.

Table 3.3 Different Situations for Data Collection Strategies ( Source: Yin, 1994 )


Form of research inquiry

Required control over behaviour events

Focus on modern-day events

Action research

Who, what, why, how many, how much?



Case survey

How, why?




Who, what, where, how many, how much?



Archival analysis

Who, what, where, how many, how much?


Yes/ No


Who, what, where, how many, how much?


Yes/ No


How, why




How, why



The assorted methods used in this research are described in following subdivisions.

Case Study

Case survey is an empirical ( Blimas, 2001 ) , in-depth and multifaceted enquiry ( Orum et al. , 1991 ) that seeks to clarify the kineticss ( Eisenhart, 1989 ; Stoecker, 1991 ) of a individual modern-day societal phenomenon ( Orum et al. , 1991 ; Yin, 1994 ) . It is a elaborate probe to analyze the variables relevant to the topic under survey ( Key, 1997 ) . A instance survey may unite a assortment of informations aggregation methods and research schemes ( Fellow and Liu, 2003 ) . It differs to other qualitative research surveies in the sense that the focal point of attending is on single instances as opposed to the whole population of instances ( Ruiker, 2004 ) . The single instance is chosen on the footing that they are representative of a sample group that can be used to show peculiar aspects of subject of research ( Beatham, 2003 ) . Akin to most qualitative methods, instance survey is clip devouring. As a consequence, information is collected from a smaller figure of samples than would usually hold been the instance utilizing a quantitative attack such as questionnaire study ( Ruiker, 2004 ) . The chief advantages of a instance survey include profusion of informations and deeper penetration into the phenomena under survey ( Hancock, 1998 ) .

Harmonizing to Yin ( 1994 ) , there are four types of research designs for instance surveies ; i.e. , single-case ( holistic ) designs, single-case ( embedded ) designs, multiple-case ( holistic ) designs and multiple-case ( embedded designs ) . An embedded instance means that there are multiple units of analysis and a holistic instance involves a individual unit of analysis. A individual instance holistic was chosen, since the considered Steel Plant was thought to stand for a important part to the cognition and theory of sustainability direction. To roll up informations within instance survey, Yin ( 1994 ) suggests six beginnings of grounds viz. Documentation, archival records, interviews, direct observations, participant ‘s observations and physical artifacts. In the instance analyze four beginnings of grounds were used: certification, archival records, interview and direct observations.


Survey is one of the most widely used methods in societal scientific disciplines to supply a representative sample of the country of survey and serves as an efficient and effectual agencies of looking at a far greater figure of variables than is possible with experimental attacks ( Galiers 1992 ) . It involves arousing information from respondents which can be achieved through postal questionnaires, telephone interviews and personal interviews. Survey research usually deals with surveies on how people perceive and behave and its intent is to find how these variables are related. Several study methods used during the class of the PhD survey are detailed below.

Archival Analysis

There is a wealth of literature on the construct of sustainable development and sustainable building but to a changing grade of quality. The reappraisal of literature was extensively and critically undertaken throughout the survey to construct up a solid theoretical base for the research country and a foundation for turn toing the jobs and accomplishing the research objectives. Archival analysis is the most efficient, effectual and cheapest method for garnering the bing wealth of literature on the capable affair to organize a thorough apprehension of the construct of sustainable development and sustainable building. The reappraisal helped to place spreads in cognition and formed the footing for developing the model to help the execution of sustainability issues at the strategic degree. Information was sought from assorted beginnings including industrial and academic publications, establishments and university databases, the Internet, seminars, workshops and conference notes attended. Furthermore, information and cognition was besides gained by go toing relevant classs.

Data Collection Strategy Adopted in the Present Study

The research inquiries are described in Chapters 4, 5, 6 and 7. Research inquiries start with what inquiries, which harmonizing to Table 3.3 suggest research schemes such as study and archival analysis. These inquiries will be answered through an archival analysis of bing ratings made on sustainability in order to acquire a background of the topic itself. Further, the archival analysis does non necessitate control over the behavioral events, but on the other manus, it focuses on non-contemporary events. Clearly, an archival analysis seems to be a possible research scheme under these conditions. Some research inquiries which start with what require study method to concentrate on modern-day events.

Other inquiries which are how inquiry, and possible research schemes are experiment, study, archival analysis, history, or a instance survey. Since it was non possible to command behavioral events, the scheme experiment was non of involvement. The staying research schemes were study, archival analysis, history and instance survey, but while the purpose was to look into modern-day events, a instance survey together with a study seems to be the most appropriate research schemes to utilize. The instance survey was performed at a typical Steel Plant in India. Table 3.4 provides the route map utilised to implement the present research work.

Table 3.4 Research Road Map




1. Investigate the construct of sustainable development in steel industry.

( Industry degree )

1. A reappraisal of related research in the field




2. Review of historical context of sustainable development, how it is understood and defined by assorted groups and the sustainability tendency in steel industry.

3. Investigate the benefits, motives, barriers and driving force of the sustainability in steel companies

4. Measure the impacts of enforced sustainability in steel industries

5. Identify the instruments, patterns, processs, policies and criterions implemented to ease sustainability and degree of integrating of environmental and societal issues in overall concern schemes.

6. Identify countries and application to the steel industry for showing advancement in the sustainability public presentation. Which factors ( guidelines, aims, operations ) can lend to a sustainable corporate public presentation

2. Appraisal of stakeholders and organisational relationship

( Plant degree )

7. Identify internal and external stakeholders and Who are the steel companies cardinal stakeholders




8. Measure the cardinal sustainability issues for each stakeholder and their most of import outlooks to your company.

9. Evaluate, how important are the stakeholders ‘ powers to act upon the steel companies sustainability issues and company ‘s influence on stakeholders?

10. Evaluate, How important are the stakeholders ‘ legitimacy to influence and urgency to act upon the steel companies sustainability issues?

11. Appraisal of menace and a possible for cooperation from the stakeholders to the steel companies on sustainability issues

12. Appraisal of degree of battle with the stakeholders

13. Appraisal of director ‘s and stakeholders perceptual experiences on sustainability issues

3a. Examine and development of model of sustainability direction system

( Plant degree )

3b.Development of Sustainability Assessment methodological analysis based on composite sustainability public presentation index.

( Plant degree )

14. Review of direction model for advancing and implementing corporate sustainability.



15. Develop a simplified model for planing, implementing, monitoring and reexamining the sustainability direction system

16. Designation of cardinal environmental, societal and economic indexs for collection




17. Develop the methodological analysis for appraisal of sustainability public presentation of steel industry and collection of indexs

Aa: Archival Analysis S: Survey CS: Case Study

Most inquiries were designed to roll up quantitative informations. The study questionnaire was employed in this survey to roll up the information because it enabled a systematic aggregation of preponderantly quantitative informations ( Borg and Gall 1989 ) . The Cronbach ‘s I± ( alpha ) for dependability of internal consistence ( Pedhazur and Schmelkin 1991 ; Tabachnick and Fidell 2001 ) was obtained for the graduated tables used in the studies in the present survey. Nunanally ( 1978 ) every bit good as Caplan, Naidu and Tripathi ( 1984 ) urge a minimal Cronbach ‘s I± of value 0.5.

A sampling frame is a list of the population from which trying units are drawn ( Hussey and Hussey 1997 ) . A more matter-of-fact attack is suggested by trying theory. It suggests cut downing the figure of companies to a manageable size by choosing a representative sample ( Hussey and Hussey 1997 ) . Hussey and Hussey ( 1997 ) suggest that a representative sample must be chosen at random, it should be big plenty to fulfill the demands of the probe being undertaken and should be unbiased. A larger sample size lowers the likely mistake in generalising the consequences from the sample to the population ( Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill 2000 ) . However, more matter-of-fact position demands to be taken about how big the sample size should be, sing limited clip and resources available in the present survey. The following guidelines have been suggested by Saunders, Lewis and Thronhill ( 2000 ) :

The assurance on the sample informations as to what extent it represents the features of the population ;

The truth with which the sample informations estimations assorted population parametric quantities ; and

( three ) The nature of statistical analyses undertaken.

Harmonizing to Huber and Power ( 1985 ) , the ‘key source ‘ attack for obtaining quantitative informations on organisational belongingss is widespread in organisational and strategic direction research, but they warn that its usage requires careful consideration of certain issues to cut down possible measuring mistake. Table 3.5 summarizes the extent to which these guidelines are followed in this survey to show that every bit far as possible the information was free from informant-specific measuring mistake.

Table 3.5 Key Informant Approach to the Measurement of Organizational Properties

Sl No


How was Reflected in This Survey


If merely one source, so try to place the most enlightening individual

Most of the sources were the caput of the CSR, environment and other related sections or the senior degree directors


Acknowledge the function of individual ‘s emotional engagement with the topic

Informants were involved with strategic issues related to research concepts and hence have a acute involvement with the topic.


Attempt to actuate sources to collaborate with the survey earnestly

All participants have been informed that the sum-up of the findings will be circulated


Minimize elapsed clip

Informants were requested to supply inputs in designated clip frame


Assess the impact of alternate framing of inquiries

Discussion organized at the initial phase to decide the questionnaire format


Use pre tested and structured inquiries

Followed in the questionnaire development ; most were selected inquiries with valid measuring belongingss

Based on Huber and Power ( 1985 )

Validity & A ; Reliability

Harmonizing to Yin ( 1994 ) , four trials are normally used to set up the quality of any empirical societal research such as concept cogency, internal cogency, external cogency and dependability. Validity by and large focuses on the inquiry as to whether the measuring device indicates what it aims to mensurate.

Reliability focuses on the inquiry of whether the measuring device produces consistent consequences across observations, supplying the research worker with a manner of measuring the trustiness of the findings ( Martella et al. , 1999 ) . The empirical appraisal for capturing the perceptual experiences and positions of directors on the apprehension of sustainability issues in steel industries was conducted in Chapter 4 based on the samples taken from the assorted states. The population of this survey was made up of big sized steel companies world-wide. An indifferent sample of steel companies was obtained from International Iron and Steel Institute. The ground for exclusion of little steel companies was that the issues related to sustainable patterns might non be much relevant to really little steel companies. Questionnaires were distributed to 120 directors of 48 steel companies ‘ universe broad. The mark was to roll up at least 40 completed questionnaires. Initially, merely about 28 questionnaires were returned. Reminder letters were mailed to the persons that had non participated. Finally, the figure of returned questionnaire approached the figure of 50.

However, it was cheering to happen that one in three directors did demo needed enthusiasm in the survey by passing an mean executive clip of one hr. Some directors discussed the assorted points on the telephone. Many executives wrote extra remarks that were insightful.

Specific research outlined in Chapter 5 was carried out as a instance survey on stakeholder-organisational relationship at a typical steel works in India. The sample size of 300 for distribution of questionnaire to directors of steel works and 120 for stakeholders, severally, was chosen. The mark was to roll up at least 100 questionnaires from directors and 40 questionnaires from stakeholders.

In Chapter 6, Sustainability Management System was developed for a typical steel works. Subsequent to development and execution of sustainability direction system at a steel works, a tool for monitoring and measuring sustainability in steel industry has been developed for a typical steel works in Chapter 7. The research work develops methodological foundations for the building of sector-specific composite index. A study has been carried out affecting 15 experts from different functional countries of the steel works under the survey to place the cardinal sustainability public presentation indexs. Further, Analytic Hierarchy Process was besides used by experts to measure the several weights of dimensions of sustainability and their indexs.

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